Meg Forbes is a mum, freelance writer, and photographer living in the Redlands, South of Brisbane.
Published March 14th 2020
Transform self-isolation into happy memories
Ordinarily, when our children are home for long periods, such as the school holidays, there are a wide range of programs and activities available that are suited to their interests. In the case of a pandemic, however, if your family needs to self-isolate, the family will be together with no outside interaction for 14 days at least. While this could become trying in a number of ways, the situation may give busy families time they don't usually get together to bond. Below there are five ideas to help turn a period of self-isolation into a time of happy memories.
Kids engaging in imaginative play by creating a fairy garden
1. If you've needed to self-isolate, but your kids are quite well, water can be your ally. As the saying goes, "Kids; instant fun, just add water!". It isn't necessary to have a pool in your backyard to play with water. Running around the lawn with a garden sprinkler on is heaps of fun. My kids love to place the sprinkler under the trampoline. If you have a slip and slide, all the better! Kids love anything with water!
2. Education is often far more fun in the garden. When my kids were younger, we'd sometimes take a little bucket of water outside with a paintbrush, and they'd "paint" the alphabet or numbers on the walls. This was one of my favourite activities since evaporation took care of the clean up for us! Other great activities for younger kids include collecting leaves and flowers to make a collage on paper. We found that runny glues worked best for this (and can even be made out of flour and water for an additional activity!).
Picking flowers to create a garden collage
3. Wildlife "hunts" are another great way to entertain kids at home. From birds on fences and in trees, to tiny bugs that find their way from the garden into the house, kids tend to have a natural curiosity about wildlife. Apps like iNaturalist allow you to share your observations with the wider world, which can help to mitigate any feelings of cabin fever especially if discussions about your observations follow your uploads.
Kids often delight in observing and recording wildlife that visits their backyard
4. If you need to self-isolate, any pets you have will be impacted as well. If they are used to certain activities, like evening walks or visits to the dog park, they may need stimulation at home as much as the kids do. Using this strategically, for example, through games of fetch or tugging with a rope, can help you exercise your kids and your pets simultaneously. Definitely a win for mum or dad!
Kids and pets can entertain each other, giving mum and dad a well-deserved break
5. Visit a museum online! Hello Giggles has teamed up with 12 museums, including the British Museum in London, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the Musée d'Orsay in Paris to provide a service where people can visit them remotely.
Kids in 2020 have many opportunities to continue to interact with the world through their devices, even when in self-isolation
Thanks to WiFi, self-isolation in 2020 doesn't mean you are completely isolated from the world, with fabulous resources for kids now delivered online. Many schools are even preparing to offer lessons this way. Although self-isolation could certainly be a challenge, especially for families with young children, it could also be a time when positive memories are made that will last our children's lifetime.
Keeping curious kids entertained with little things